Recently my daughter shared a tweet (or TikTok, or whatever social platform she was on) by somebody who wrote something along the lines of “what’s the greatest song ever recorded and why is it ‘Upside Down‘ by Jack Johnson?”
I get where that person is coming from. That song, from the soundtrack of 2006’s animated Curious George, is a blast of pure happiness. I could listen to it every day.
But I’ve never listened to anything else by Johnson, with the exception of a brief dalliance with his debut album, 2001’s Brushfire Fairytales.
I’ve posted three Jack Johnson songs over the past 11 years. Two were from his 2001 debut album Brushfire Fairytales and the third was ‘Upside Down,’ the great song he wrote for the Curious George movie.
The last Brushfire Fairytales song appeared seven years ago and, like today’s song, showed up on a Random iTunes Weekend. This is the only album I own of his so I guess his odds aren’t great of popping up randomly.
I was shocked to see that I hadn’t already featured Jack Johnson’s ‘Upside Down’ as a Song of the Day.
Surely I’ve done a theme week on music from kids’ movies over the past five and a half years, right? How could this one have missed the cut?
I’m not a big fan of Jack Johnson. His laid-back Hawaiian beach bum vibe doesn’t really do it for me, and I find his music redundant. But this song is a blast.
This song is perfectly lovely… the sort of thing you want to listen to while swaying in a hammock on a breezy summer day.
All of Jack Johnson’s music is like that (or at least, all of the Jack Johnson music that I’ve heard). But despite my acknowledging just how sweetly mellow this stuff is, I can’t bring myself to listen to it. With one exception (the theme song to Curious George), I just can’t make it through a Jack Johnson song.
Jack Johnson is one of those artists who has written just one song and made a career out of recording it in slightly different ways.
OK, I say that with some degree of confidence, but the truth is I only own one full album of his (Brushfire Fairytales) and I’ve only heard a handful of songs apart from that album. So maybe he does things that are completely unexpected on the rest of his discography. But somehow I doubt it.
Of the various incarnations of the single Jack Johnson song, two stand out in my mind as the best of the bunch.